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Right-hander Enderson Franco is close to a deal with NPB’s Lotte Giants, according to Bae Joong-hyun of Ilgan Sports (hat tip to Dan Kurtz of  The contract will become official once Franco’s medical check is complete.

Franco will go to one Giants organization from another, as he elected to become a free agent earlier this month after spending the previous two seasons in San Francisco.  This stint resulted in Franco making his MLB debut during the 2019 season, appearing in five games and posting a 3.38 ERA over 5 1/3 relief innings.  He didn’t see any action in 2020, however, as the Giants outrighted Franco off their 40-man roster in June, and he wasn’t included in the team’s alternate training site roster.

The move to Japan is the latest stop in a pro career that began as an international signing with the Astros in 2009.  Over 10 minor league seasons with the Astros, Rays, Marlins, Braves, and Giants, Franco amassed a 4.57 ERA, 2.64 K/BB rate, and 7.0 K/9 over 889 1/3 innings, starting 163 of his 183 career games on the farm.

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